I Love You! Come and Die!
- Written by Lon Lorton Lon Lorton
“When Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
You can take this for what it’s worth as my opinion on dating and relationships, but I would think it’s probably not the most comforting thing to invite someone into a relationship with the words, “I love you. Come and die.” I guess it kind of worked for Romeo and Juliet, but I’m thinking Shakespeare may have used up whatever romance was in that line.
“I love you. Come and die.” Doesn't paint a very bright future, does it? No warm fuzzies attached. If you heard it from the wrong person, you might call 911. But, from Jesus, it is not a threat. It’s a wonderful invitation to live.
It’s one thing to be exposed to Jesus. Lots of people are exposed to Him. Some like what they see; others don’t. Some are drawn to Him; others are repelled. Some choose to believe; others hesitate or refuse. All of that has to do with being exposed to Jesus. It is a whole different thing, though, to be invited by Jesus to die, to realize what Jesus truly wants is for us to die so He can live through us. “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” Galatians 2:20
Let that soak in. By accepting Jesus’ death at the cross as applying to us, His resurrection then is also ours to claim. Christ died; we died in Him. Christ lives; He lives in us.
“I love you. Come die…and you will find life!” It is an invitation to recognize a different way and a different reason for living. Jesus’ desire is that the very being of who we are changes. I am no longer Lon, doing things for Lon, living for Lon, even serving God and others, but by my own effort. No. God’s Word and His Spirit call me, and all of us, into a deeper experience. “For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will find it.” Matthew 16:25
What has happened in the life of every believer is that Christ has taken up residence in us. The question we have to answer is, “How crowded do we want our lives to be?” It is His intent that we die, so He can take up residence in us. Not a bad deal - if we are all in on Jesus being Lord in addition to Savior.
In this season of bountiful harvests and beautiful reminders of God’s presence, I’m reminded of the words in Don Moen’s classic song, "Give thanks with a grateful heart. Give thanks to the Holy One. Give thanks because He’s given Jesus Christ, His Son!"
P.S. Thank you to everyone who made Pastor Appreciation Day so special for Rob, Pete, and myself. Pat and I truly appreciated all the kind and encouraging words and thoughtful gifts. We certainly are blessed to minister with this church family!